When I am on the land I like to dream of other worlds and other places. Some are real and some are imagined. On my long walk up to see our heifers in the upper ground each morning and especially on these cold mornings I day dream about hot places.
Those dreams are real things though, they are rooted in the books that I read and have read. For in the world of books there is a whole other universe that can come to life, one of adventure, one of hardship, one of love.
In a book as my mentor David Malouf used to tell me the writer unlike any other artist can slow down time, stretch five minutes into five or indeed fifty pages and examine a moment like in no other art form. In a book we can literally time travel.
You see reading changes how we see the world, in the pages of the great writers like John McGahern or the poems of Seamus Heaney we can get a glimpse of a way of life and come in a strange way to know ourselves better. In literature, in the words of others we can put meaning to our own lives.
Books and I have the disease of buying more and more of them show me lives that I know I will never be able to live but the beauty is that by reading them I can inhabit that life for a week or more and so gain a taste of being in another man’s shoes.
We are all living in strange times, in this the great sickness of covid we can all do with escaping into the company of a good book. In that good book we can forget about the torments of the present moment.
One evening we can be in the Australian outback and next week in the great plains of the USA with the cowboys and Native Americans.
Books you see can be a friend, a companion for us all on lonely nights and in these dark days we need all the friends we can get. So join me and join the world and find your romance, your adventure, there is a story for everyone out there, there is a book for everyone.
Come read with me.
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